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Treatment remains best option for rehabilitating sex offenders

I am writing in response to Jeff McMeekin’s letter “Extra punishment fine in sex offenders’ case” (March 4). I empathize with his emotional response to Aaron Smith’s previous letter; these crimes are terrible. At the same time, this borderline-hateful reaction offers no solution to the problem at hand.

We could argue for longer prison sentences with the rate of recidivism being so high, but at some point these individuals will be back living in our community. I think Smith touched on a solid point – these men and women have few options in terms of legal places to live.

In a Dec. 29, 2011, Journal Gazette article, Cpl. Mike Smotherman of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department stated: “Eventually they give up hope, so to speak, there’s nowhere they can live that they can afford.” In addition, I see this future fee as nothing but another deterrent for these individuals to register each year. We already have an issue with offenders going off the radar; why give one more reason not to register?

We are failing as a community to protect our children from these crimes because of knee-jerk reactions similar to McMeekin’s letter. The United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate per capita, and we still have some of the highest crime rates. It’s obvious our system doesn’t work, and I hope as a community we can be honest with ourselves and reform the justice system for sexual offenders.

These individuals need intensive behavioral therapy, not hard time served with drug dealers and murderers. A large percentage of these offenders were victims themselves of child molestation and rape. Let’s give these people hope for a new start. If you can’t find compassion for the offender, find compassion for the future victims.


Girls basketball court changes unworthy of commentary

So The Journal Gazette’s editorial page writers have decided that an extra 10 feet on the girls basketball court at the finals is worthy of space (March 1).

Five feet have been added at each end of the court. That means that five more feet would have to be covered getting down the court after an inbounds pass. Five feet on the offensive end is adding barely the length of an outstretched arm. We’re talking about a miniscule amount.

Aren’t there more newsworthy events to comment on in the world besides something that will likely have no bearing on a game?

JOHN R. BANET Fort Wayne

Constitutional convention plan panders to tea party interests

The Feb. 27 headline read “Constitutional convention measure passes.” I had to read this more than once. What are our state senators doing down there? Obviously, very little.

This “measure” does not represent the people of Indiana. The sentence in the article related to the fact that Senate President David Long proposed this bill due to the pressure from local and national conservatives who want Indiana to challenge the federal government. It takes no imagination to realize these conservatives are the tea party faction of the Republican Party.

It is bad enough that Long would succumb to the pressure of local neoconservatives but a disgrace he would do so for those outside of Indiana. If Long is no more free thinking than to propose this on behalf of others, he should resign. It is apparent that this proposal is intended to do one thing: undermine or eliminate the Affordable Care Act as passed by Congress and having been upheld by the Supreme Court.

This measure should be a wake-up call for the people of Indiana. The tea party is not content to abide by the will of the majority. They wish to push their agendas, opinions and philosophies down the throats of the majority. Richard Murdock said as much on national TV and lost his bid for the Senate.

What is next for Indiana after a constitutional convention, to secede from the union? This measure does nothing for the Indiana but to make it the butt of the national jokes that will surely come. As mentioned, the people of Indiana had better wake up and get these people voted out of office.